REUTERS - Claude Puel made a winning start to his tenure as Leicester City manager after his side defeated Everton 2-0 at home in the Premier League on Sunday.
The hosts opened the scoring in the 18th minute when Jamie Vardy smashed in Riyad Mahrez’s right wing cross. Their lead was doubled 11 minutes later when Everton defender Jonjoe Kenny sliced Demarai Gray’s left wing cross into his own net.
The result compounded a miserable week for Everton, who had caretaker manager David Unsworth in charge following the sacking of Ronald Koeman last Monday.
Everton remain 18th in the standings, having lost six of their 10 matches this season, while Leicester are up to 11th.
“I was impressed with my players,” Puel said. “It was a very good first half and there were good combinations between the players for the first goal.”
Puel made two changes to the Leicester team that beat Swansea City last weekend, replacing Shinji Okazaki and Marc Albrighton with Ben Chilwell and Gray, and the promotion of the latter in particular proved instrumental.
The 21-year-old winger was largely to thank for the opening goal. He carried the ball out of defence and through midfield in a brilliant solo run before feeding Mahrez, whose cross landed perfectly at the feet of the on-rushing Vardy.
Gray then switched to the left wing for the second goal, tormenting the Everton defence with his slick footwork and then swinging in a cross that Kenny badly miscued.
Everton could have been given a route back into the game when Christian Fuchs collided with Aaron Lennon inside the box three minutes later, but referee Andre Marriner did not award a penalty.
Kevin Mirallas went close for Everton with two strikes from outside the box in quick succession just before half-time, and Unsworth’s side continued to improve and put pressure on Leicester after the break.
But while they had 16 shots to Leicester’s nine and 59 per cent of possession, they were unable to create clear-cut chances and fell to their third defeat of the week.
Unsworth said: “The second half was much better. We gave them a two-goal start - in the first half we didn’t perform. Our display was much better after the break.”
Reporting by Matt Westby; Editing by Christian Radnedge